Friday, March 03, 2017

Knowledge of the Final Solution in Nazi Satellite States: 1) Hungary

Author: Jonathan Harrison
This series of articles updates information that was presented in the Critique here regarding attempts by the Nazis, from the Wannsee Conference onwards, to extend the Final Solution across all territory in which the Nazis had administrations or allies. This first piece, on Hungary, begins before Wannsee due to the fact that Jews deported from Hungary were murdered at Kamenets Podolsk in August 1941. These early murders colored much of what followed, because there could be no doubt that the Nazis harbored genocidal designs on at least some categories of Jews. The events that unfolded in 1942-44 were therefore guided by the willingness of otherwise of Hungary's leaders to collude in extermination, and this in turn depended on whether the Hungarians felt it was in their economic and strategic interests to block the deportations to death camps.

One of the foremost authorities on Hungarian knowledge is Laszlo Karsai. In April 2014, on the 70th anniversary of the beginning of deportations, Karsai gave an interview in which he noted that:
Horthy and the political elite were perfectly aware from the summer of 1942 that the Germans were killing the Jews in the areas they occupied. The Germans had massacred about four million Jews by the end of 1942, and this was not entirely concealed from the Hungarian media. It is telling that when the chief editor of the governing party paper Pester Lloyd, György Ottlik, asked Dömé Sztójay while ambassador to Berlin in the autumn of 1942 what the Kallay government could do to regain the Germans’ trust, Sztójay answered that they should deport 300,000 Jews and then a little later negotiate this down to 100,0000. “When I noted”, wrote Ottlik, “that this meant the death of 100,000 people, Sztojay answered yes”. Now if Sztojay and a reporter from Pest were also clear in this matter, then the foreign minister and, of course, Horthy himself should have known about it. 
Karsai's draft chapter, The Fateful Year: 1942 in the Reports of Hungarian Diplomats, places these events in a more precise context:
On October 3, 1942, describing Hitler's speech of September 30, [Sztójay] reported to Kállay that "Chancellor Hitler repeatedly, and with the strongest terms inveighed against the Jews, whose extermination he promised. This constantly recurring, firm, and extremist attitude of his leaves no doubt that there is much more than empty propaganda behind his words, and there are facts to prove it, anyway." It can even be established with relative certainty from when the „well-informed” in Budapest knew that the Nazis were murdering the Jews they had put their hands on. György Ottlik, editor-in-chief of Pester Lloyd, a German language daily, which was close to the government, made a prolonged trip in Western Europe between August 18 and September 28, 1942. He visited Sztójay in Berlin, who, according to Ottlik, „... would rather Hungary did not wait until the urgent emergence of the issue [i.e. the Jewish question], but instead sped up the pace of the change of guard and deported a considerable portion of our Jewish population to occupied Russia. Our ambassador first mentioned 300,000 people, then, haggling with himself, lowered the number to 100,000. Upon my interspersed remark, he made no secret of the fact that this would mean not deportation but execution."
Sztójay would also have been unconvinced by the attempts of the German Foreign Office to assuage the Hungarians. On October 5, 1942, Sztojay met Luther and expressed concerns that deported Hungarian Jews would not have a "continued existence." Luther replied that all evacuated Jews would "first be used in the East for road construction and would later be settled in a Jewish reserve [NG-1800, p.4]." This was clearly a lie because the reference to road construction at Wannsee, which Luther attended, had concluded that Jews would be finished off when their work was no longer needed. Although Sztójay was clearly not privy to Wannsee, he knew that the Nazis were not in the habit of keeping hundreds of thousands of Jews alive in the occupied eastern territories because he had been receiving reports from Hungarian diplomats, as Karsai meticulously documents. Luther had also been aware of mass shootings in the USSR because he wrote summaries of the reports (for example, see M.9/191).

Hitler made attempts to secure the deportation of Hungary's Jews when he met Horthy in April 1943 and March 1944. When the first of these failed, Hitler fumed that "the junk of small states which still exists in Europe must be liquidated as quickly as possible." Horthy in turn had drafted a letter to Hitler stating that "A further reproach of Your Excellency was that the [Hungarian] government has failed to take as far-reaching an action in the extirpation of the Jews as Germany had taken, or as would appear desirable in other countries." [source citing The Confidential Papers of Admiral Horthy, p. 255]. After the second meeting, during which Horthy was forcibly removed from power, Horthy noted that "Our crime is, therefore, that I have not fulfilled Hitler’s wish, and have not allowed the Jews to be massacred." [Karsai, p.69, citing Demokrácia, 5.8.45, pp.1-2]. Horthy had been stalling for two years, keenly aware of what would befall the Jews should he relent, but now his time was up, and the Jews could no longer be saved.

13 comments:

Geoff said...

Sorry to go off topic here.I have been trying to find out exactly why architects Walter Dejaco&Fritz Ertl were acquitted at their 1972 trial.I thought Ertl admitted the gassings.Can anyone help?Thanks

Jonathan Harrison said...

Austrian juries were very lenient:

http://www.jta.org/1972/03/13/archive/austrian-jury-acquits-two-ex-nazis

Geoff said...

Thanks!

Statistical Mechanic said...

Great item, Jon, Thanks for this as well as the piece on Ciano.

Nathan said...

"Austrian juries were very lenient:

http://www.jta.org/1972/03/13/archive/austrian-jury-acquits-two-ex-nazis"

Let me finish that for you; Austrian Juries were very lenient, were not "controlled" by Jews, and did not have what Holocaust deniers call "Holocaust Guilt". There was no "Allied" conspiracy to fabricate the Holocaust.

Geoff said...

In the Austrian trial,I have never been able to find who the 'expert' was who said the Kremas could not have been converted into gas chambers.Does anyone know?

Nicholas Terry said...

Geoff, this is covered in Michael Thad Allen's article on the Dejaco trial, 'Realms of Oblivion'. He was an engineer testifying for the defense, nothing more than that.

Dass Prussian said...

What appears strange in this trial is how Ertl was let off even though he knew what the crematoria was being used for, but was 'following orders' yet Dejaco, who was Ertl's senior claimed he did not know what the crems were being used for ! Even though he was more senior than Ertl, who was a mere 'aide' !

How could the situation arise where the architect's aide knew more than the senior architect ?

Nathan said...

-What appears strange in this trial is how Ertl was let off even though he knew what the crematoria was being used for, but was 'following orders' yet Dejaco, who was Ertl's senior claimed he did not know what the crems were being used for !-

That's a very good catch. :)

There's a very simple answer, though. Our denier friends won't like it. The fact is that the German and Austrian Courts were neither controlled by the Americans nor by Jews, and were more on the side of the defendants than the victims. The hoax never happened, and the fundamental assumption behind Denial is false.

Dass Prussian said...

Nathan said "That's a very good catch "

Just to clear something up here, although my username, profile pic and my previous post may suggest that I am of the denier persuasion, I can assure you this is not the case. Just pop over to Rodoh if you want to see what side of the fence I sit on :)

Going back to the trial, I wonder if at any point Dejaco was cross examined by the prosecution lawyer and was asked how it came to be that his aide knew the true purpose of the crems yet he himself claimed ignorance. I am curious how he would have answered. However I doubt if we will ever know exactly how this trial played out between prosecution and defence as I believe the transcripts have not been made available to view.






















Nathan said...

-my previous post may suggest that I am of the denier persuasion, I can assure you this is not the case-

I can assure you, I'm aware of this. I've read the others talk about you on SSF, and I have seen your stuff at Rodoh.

-Going back to the trial, I wonder if at any point Dejaco was cross examined by the prosecution lawyer and was asked how it came to be that his aide knew the true purpose of the crems yet he himself claimed ignorance. -

If the Dejaco trial was anything like the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial (where the prosecution was allegedly so indifferent that one "would be tempted to think that they were attending the wrong trial"), I doubt it. The game was rigged in the defendants' favor, the complete opposite of the "show trial"/"kangaroo court" fantasy that the deniers are peddling.

My "good catch" remark actually refers to your excellent point at how inconsistent the Jury was when assessing Dejaco and Ertl's testimonies, and determinong Ertl innocent because of "superior orders" (placing the blame on his superior) despite that very same superior, Dejaco, denying any knowledge. That can only be explained by what Dr. Harrison and I pointed out: it is an example of the leniency and or support by the Austrian court system towards the defendant, and the refutation of the Deniers' legalism fantasies. The jury and the judge were in favor of the defendants. "Show trials" never happened.

Nicholas Terry said...

DasPrussian:

"How could the situation arise where the architect's aide knew more than the senior architect?"

He didn't. But the senior architect dissembled, dodged and misrepresented the true extent of his knowledge and involvement, whereas the junior guy was more honest and open about it.




Dass Prussian said...

Lol, sorry Nathan I misunderstood your 'good catch' comment. It originally sounded like something one would sarcastically say to a denier , as if he had just learnt how to catch a ball, after he had learnt to tie his shoe laces !

No wonder the trial transcripts have never been released then- the whole trial must have been a complete farce !